World-class water parks, record-breaking theme parks and plenty of dazzling attractions, Dubai makes a great family destination all year round. It also hosts a jam-packed calendar of events. Here’s our top must-see events for the next six months.
Watch the birdie
The DP World Tour Championship golf tournament (16th-19th November) is a must for all wannabe Tigers and Rorys. Held at the swanky Jumeirah Golf Estates, just south of Dubai Sports City, this megabucks golf tournament attracts the top 60 European Tour golfers in the world who compete to win the $8 million prize. Last year, England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick brought home the trophy. General admission is free for spectators.
Let’s go global
This year, Global Village (1st November – 7th April 2018), a huge culture-themed shopping and entertainment complex, launches its 22nd season. Open daily from 4pm until midnight, Dubai’s Global Village brings the cultures from 75 countries around the world together under one roof. Where else can you take a selfie with Big Ben, the Taj Mahal and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in one evening? It features daily parades and street performances, and dozens of food pavilions and craft markets, as well as Dubai’s largest funfair.
Join the scrum
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens (30th November – 2nd December) is a big occasion in Dubai’s sporting and social calendar. Over the weekend, 16 teams from all over the world compete against each other in a series of fast-paced matches at the Sevens Stadium. It’s a great event for all the family. There’s a separate entrance to the family stand, plus plenty of fun activities and entertainment to enjoy in Rugby Village, including the Sabaa 7s Club. The three-day event concludes with a massive live music concert and fireworks display.
Celebrate good times
The National Day for the United Arab Emirates (2nd December) is a big three-day national holiday to mark the anniversary of the union between the seven emirates in 1971. With traditional dance performances, colourful street parades and music concerts, it’s a great excuse to eat, drink and be merry, and embrace the Emirati culture. The celebrations are largely centred around a massive UAE National Day Parade on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, followed by a live music concert and fireworks display in Burj Park.
Christmas in Dubai
While the palm trees and endless sunshine are in juxtaposition with Christmas Markets, Santa Claus and glühwein, Dubai at Christmas is pretty special. The hotels and malls are even more opulent draped in sparkle and tinsel, and Friday Brunch has a festive twist with roast turkey and all the trimmings. For a white Christmas, head to the snow-white sands of Jumeirah Beach or Ski Dubai. Don’t miss Jingle Bell Favourites at Dubai Opera (14th-16th December), a family concert with carols and well-known Christmas classics performed by London Concert Orchestra Show Band.
Shop until you drop
In January, Dubai hosts its annual and remarkably popular Dubai Shopping Festival (26th December – 28th January 2018). This month-long event is held in a number of shopping malls across the city, where savvy shoppers can find additional perks and heavy discounts (sometimes up to 75%). Aside from shopping, Dubai Mall hosts fashion shows, live music gigs and daily entertainment, plus there are dozens of opportunities to win a variety of topnotch prizes. And of course, no Dubai festival would be complete without several firework displays.
A February feast
In February, the emirate celebrates its vibrant culinary scene with the Dubai Food Festival (22nd February -10th March 2018). This three-week long citywide event offers a jam-packed calendar of foodie events, from street food stalls and hip food trucks to fine dining, so bring a hearty appetite (and elasticated trousers). The Taste of Dubai (8th- 10th March) in the Media City Amphitheatre is a real highlight of the festival. Dozens of the city’s top restaurants offer tastings, live cooking displays, and the chance to try small plates of their most popular dishes for just a few dirham.
A good impressionism
In March, Art Dubai (21st-24th March 2018) celebrates its 12th edition. The UAE’s biggest art fair is a must see for wannabe Banksys. The Sheikha Manal Little Artists programme offers daily drop-in workshops and art sessions. Children from five to 18 can also take part in Art Dubai’s Discovery Tours, a series of guided tours which enable kids to access the key artworks at the fair through a mix of storytelling and themed activity maps.
The Festival of Literature
March also is a big month for bookworms. The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (2nd – 10th March 2018) is held at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City and attracts top-name authors from around the world. There are dozens of literary events throughout the week, including opportunities to meet authors, take a writing masterclass or take part in a literary debate. As part of the festival, the Fringe’s host free activities for children, plus plays and performances aimed at the younger audience.